Sunday, November 30, 2008

Invasive English ivy featured in Newsweek..with a twist

Yes that sure looks like Hedera helix wrapped around the U. S. presidential rostrum. (I checked a hard copy of the article) to verify (it is good to have more than fuzzy virtual renditions and copies).

"Give me your hungry, your homeless your plants which need no spraying, and can survive both drought and flood."

English ivy, an invasive species poster child in the mid-Atlantic, is prominently features in a Newsweek article entitled: A Leadership Reality Check Oratory is not enough. It often takes a national crisis to persuade Americans to make sacrifices.

The article is about climate change and warming, with intense nods towards CO2 changes. It is a call for politicians to ask for public sacrifice. However, it is going to be hard to get the public to make sacrifices when we can not get our vices and virtues straight. Featuring an invasive species, most certainly without knowing that the natural area invader is centered in the picture subconsciously raises the question of what else is not quite right about the information thus presented.

This picture in a sense is a reinforcement of the need for systematics (USDA BARC) and basic taxonomy, fields which we publicly and privately fail to support because we blithely assume that someone some where knows. In addition, this photo found on the Internet refutes the notion that we do not need libraries and their collections (NAL) and more importantly librarians to vet our factoids.

The irony of having an invasive species featured front and center in an environmental call to arms in a reputable news magazine is rich and symptomatic of how far we need to go in order to engage in conversations on an equal playing field with all parties having the same access to information.

Newsweek: April 14, 2008 page 48

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